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This rich Italian soup, made with ground pork, potatoes and kale is sure to satisfy. Using a slow cooker makes this low-calorie recipe easy to execute.

Diabetic Living Magazine; updated November 2022


Recipe Summary

30 mins
6 hrs 30 mins

To Reduce Sodium, Use Ground Pork

In this slow-cooker version of Zuppa Toscana, we use ground pork instead of Italian sausage, which can be high in sodium. The ground pork is browned in a skillet with onion, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper, making it flavorful while keeping sodium in check.

What Type of Potatoes Can Be Used?

Opt for tiny red new potatoes, also called red baby potatoes. If you use larger red potatoes, cut them into smaller bite-sized pieces. You don't need to peel the potatoes because the potato peel has nutritional benefits like fiber and potassium.

How to Thicken the Soup

We use cornstarch to thicken the soup. Cornstarch is a great option as it is a natural thickening agent. In a small bowl, we combine fat-free evaporated milk and cornstarch until smooth, then we stir that mixture into the slow cooker. If you want to add more texture to the soup, you can use the back of a spoon or potato masher to gently mash the potatoes. Check out more tips on how to thicken soup from our test kitchen.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large skillet cook pork, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is browned and onion is tender; drain off fat. Return meat mixture to skillet; add oregano, salt and crushed red pepper. Cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Add broth and potatoes.

  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. In a small bowl combine evaporated milk and cornstarch until smooth; stir into cooker. Stir in kale. Cover and cook for 30 to 60 minutes more or until bubbly around the edge of the cooker. If desired, sprinkle with additional crushed red pepper.


Slow cooker


For easy cleanup, line your slow cooker with a disposable slow cooker liner. Add ingredients as directed in the recipe. Once your dish is finished cooking, spoon the food out of your slow cooker and simply dispose of the liner. Do not lift or transport the disposable liner with food inside.

Nutrition Facts

1 1/3 cups
303 calories; protein 19.9g; carbohydrates 19.1g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 4.5g; fat 12.1g; saturated fat 4.4g; cholesterol 53.3mg; vitamin a iu 3727IU; vitamin c 35mg; folate 30.2mcg; calcium 222.6mg; iron 2.1mg; magnesium 38.7mg; potassium 798.1mg; sodium 542.3mg.

2 medium-fat protein, 1 fat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable